Matt Lang: Canada’s next country star

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courtesy harltonempire

Nashville, Tennessee, 2018—Canadian singer-songwriter Matt Lang strums his guitar in a dimly lit lounge to record his very first English single.

Two years later, “Love Me Some You,” has over 1.6 million Spotify plays and 2.6 million all-time streams.

His latest single, “Water Down The Whiskey,” received recognition as the Most Added song at all Canadian radio formats and the Country radio format the week it was released.

What sets Lang apart from his contemporaries is his warm, powerful vocals and Nashville-esque twang. Ahead of his performance as part of the Good Ones Tour in Waterloo, Imprint got the chance to get to know him a little.

Born and raised in Maniwaki, Quebec, Lang began playing music when he was a teenager. He was playing hockey at the time but quickly discovered his heart was not in the sport, but in writing and playing music.

Back in his hometown, Lang worked for a local radio station and performed at one of their events. He recalls this being a defining moment in his career: the moment he realized music was his path, and he hasn’t looked back since. 

Having grown up listening to Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Dwight Yoakam, Lang continues to find inspiration in old school country.

More recently, he has found himself humming the tunes of Luke Combs and other country artists who give the genre a pop rock twist.

Although he has always been a fan of American country music, growing up in Quebec and having French as his first language, has significantly influenced his work and sound. 

More interestingly, growing up, he didn’t exclusively listen to the American greats, enjoying local music from Quebec artists like Kain, Les Colocs, and Okoume. Lang didn’t exclusively listen to the American greats growing up; he enjoyed more local music from Quebec artists like Kain, Les Colocs, and Okoume.   

Lang kicked off his career with a French album in 2015, following his time on the Quebec version of The Voice. He realized, however, that country music was what he’d be happiest pursuing.

When Lang released his first-ever English album in April 2018, he didn’t anticipate how quickly his music and career would take off.

“I didn’t expect things to move so fast. It made me realize how far things could go, and it made me want to work even harder to achieve my goals. It took away any doubt I might have had. I am very lucky to do what I love and have that kind of support,” he aaid.

Though he loves being in the studio, his heart lies in performance and the more social, interactive aspects of the job.

Lang loves touring, watching and hearing his audience singing along to his songs, and spending time with his band when they’re on the road.

One thing that is very important to Lang is the experience his audience has at his shows. He describes his set as a “big party.”

“We play the tracks from my first album, some new songs and some classic country and rock covers. Be prepared to sing and dance.”

Though he’s still a new artist on the scene, Lang has received several awards and accolades, including several CCMA Awards, Billboard Top New Artist, and Academy of Country Music / Top New Vocal Group.

According to Lang, winning the SIRIUS Top Of The Country contest was particularly special because it is was the first one, and it was both extensive and competitive.

Interestingly, the attention hasn’t changed his music or his creative approach. What it has done, though, is given him made him more confident.

Heading into 2020, Lang says he wants to play as many stages as he can, meet as many people as possible, and share his music with anyone who wants to hear it.

There is no doubt that the coming year is going to be a successful one for Lang, as 2020 is about to introduce Europe to his music and prepare his fans for a new album that is in the works. 

When asked if he had any words of wisdom for those pursuing music themselves, he said, “Follow your heart, work hard and surround yourself with the best team. And always remember to have fun!”

If you want to hear Lang play live, you can catch him crooning his songs at Maxwell’s on Friday,  Jan 31.

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